Day 11 Why do I feel guilty?
Teacher guilt. I’d be willing to bet my paycheck that we have all felt guilt, particularly over this past year. “I’m not doing enough. My kids are failing. They don’t understand this or that. I need to spend more time finding resources, planning new ways to engage them, rewriting my lessons, adding more comments to their progress reports….” I’m sure there are many more items to add to this list.
And yet, I am human. I have a family, a life outside of my classroom space. I deserve to have time for other interests in the evenings and on weekends. I do believe we are all better with our students when we take time for ourselves.
So why do I feel guilt? This goes back to not feeling enough – good enough, hard-working enough, caring enough. Pick a phrase and I’ve probably felt it. How can I be in my 33rd year of teaching and still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing? And the stresses over the last 12 months have been monumental in increasing my “not-enough”s.
Part of the answer is the way I am wired – in a sense I was conditioned to put others ahead of myself. This started in my childhood and continued in my first marriage, which included raising 3 boys. In some ways it was like living in a vacuum cleaner – between my students and my family, they sucked up all of me that there was to give. It took a hard reset to realize this, and I’ve spent much of the last 6-7 years yanking myself out of the vacuum bag.
I am trying to delete the “human self-causing guilt machine” that I used to be. And yet, I still feel guilt. Do you?